The Strand Theatre in Kutztown is celebrating 100 years with the launch of a classic film series that started Sept. 23.
The Strand, located on North Whiteoak Street, has always been a movie house, says 15-year employee and historical enthusiast Jason Weinsteiger who explains that 100 years ago movies were viewed as “a passing fad” by the original owner’s father and financial backer. During an era of vaudeville houses, it was “crazy to build a theatre without a stage.”
But the Strand still stands as a historical monument to an era passed.
The classic film series kicked off with two screenings of the animated classic, The Last Unicorn, on Monday, Sept. 23 at 5 and 7:30 p.m. Author Peter S. Beagle was featured in addition to the 2k digital print of the film. Doors opened at 4 p.m. for a pre-show signing by Beagle, who was present after the showings for a Q&A with the audience. The Strand is also the only theater in Pennsylvania participating in The Last Unicorn Screening Tour.
Then, on Oct. 5, the classic film series will continue through Dec. 7 with the Saturday Matinee and Saturday Night Cult Showings of old films.
The 10 matinees feature family-friendly films such as Casablanca, The Goonies, and Ghostbusters, while the night cult series showcases adult-oriented films such as Army of Darkness, The Big lebowski, and the Labyrinth.
Weinsteiger explains that to him, classic films are 20 years or older and generate a sense of nostalgia. And while some movie-goers may prefer corporate chains to small-town dives, he finds that historical movie houses have personality and character compared to the cut and dry, generic cinemas of today.
Weinsteiger hopes to generate enough interest in the classic film series to continue with a spring 2014 series, featuring more artistic and “weirder” films. Showing classics can be a gamble, considering the expense to screen the films. The Strand’s $5 movie tickets are increased to $6, the same price for 3D showings, during the event series.
Many small-town theatres are disappearing as film itself is making the transition to digital projectors. With two auditoriums, Strand owner since 1967, Paul Angstadt, purchased a digital projector in 2010 so that the theatre is equipped to play both 35mm and digital films.
So come out this fall and celebrate 100 years of cinema with the Strand’s Classic Film Series and help keep Kutztown classic.
Provided by the Kutztown Community Partnership.